Hurn honey farm buzzes with excitement as George Mantzikos peels back the lid of a full hive.
Mantzikos is a professional beekeeper and has over 80,000 bees on his open property in Ferndown.
“When we import bees from other countries, they usually don’t have a queen.”
If there is no queen bee present within a colony, nurse bees will select larvae and fed the cells a nutrient-rich diet of royal jelly from the hypopharynx gland located on the frontal lobe of nurse bees. The growing queen is encased in wax for 16 days before being chewed out by worker bees.
This process is know as “Grafting”.
If more than one queen is grown and emerges sooner than another, the royals will fight until one queen is left.
Before the cells are opened, Mantikos can remove the cells from the hive and harvest new queens that can be be sold for over £200.
Bee breeding is a £1.8 billion industry which helps our environment and sustainability of bee populations.
While Queen Bees do not make decisions for the colony, she settles the hive into their environment to lay her 2,000 eggs per day. Once the hive becomes over crowded, Queen Bees will “swarm” to a new location to allow the bees to emerge in the fall.
Beekeepers contribute greatly to bee population management. While they do not receive strong government support, their contribution to maintaining bee populations keeps the natural global balance in order.